[This story contains spoilers for Shazam! Fury of the Gods.]
If that last credits scene of Shazam! Anger of the Gods looked familiar, that’s how it should be.
After a long battle against the daughters of Atlas — Hespera (Helen Mirren), Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Anthea (Rachel Zegler) — the DC sequel ends with Billy Batson (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi) and the Shazam! family safely back together, rebuilding their home after it was destroyed in the final battle. They all have their powers restored and Billy finally discovers his true superhero name – it’s obviously Shazam. And once the credits roll on what is potentially Levi’s last outing as a superhero, there will be two end-credit sequences.
The closing credits scene is reminiscent of the post-credits promises of the first film, in which Doctor Sivana (Mark Strong) plots revenge in his jail cell with an unlikely visitor — Mister Mind, a super-villain worm with a robot voice who has an important Shazam! enemy from the comics.
This time the scene opens up for Mister Mind and Sivana meeting again. Two years have passed since the events of the first film and Sivana is patiently waiting for the worm genie to help him escape his cell so he can enact his revenge on Billy.
“Where the hell have you been?” exclaims Sivana. “I’m trapped in a concrete box, surrounded by lunatics, waiting for a worm.” Mister Mind then explains that despite his brilliance and telepathic powers, slithering takes time. He has no legs or wings, which understandably makes traveling difficult.
While the sequel may have initially been intended to focus on Mister Mind as the villain, co-writers Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan ultimately chose to take a different path by introducing Atlas’ daughters. In a recent interview with The Hollywood ReporterGayden revealed that the Anger of the Godsthe credits scene started as a fun writing exercise.
“I really wrote that on a lark,” said the writer. “Nobody asked me to write that. We had made all those Mister Mind and Sivana versions and ended up throwing them away. And so randomly I thought, well, it’s just so sad to lose them,” Gayden recalled. “So for fun, as a joke, I wrote that. Then months go by, and we get into pre-production, and I was like, should we include this as a post-credits thing?
Gayden recalls that former DC Films boss Walter Hamada “forgot about it, but thought, ‘This is the best thing you’ve ever written’.”
As it turns out, there were even earlier drafts of the sequel script where Mister Mind and Sivana teamed up.
“There’s a scene where Sivana escapes from prison without lifting a finger thanks to Mister Mind’s help, which is one of my favorite scenes I’ve written,” said the writer. “There were things there that were great, but none of them really allowed Billy to grow naturally. It felt a bit redundant. It felt like we were doing the last movie, only on a bigger scale.
Instead, he and Morgan wanted to focus on the issue of family and what that would mean for Billy, who had never had one.
“The natural next chapter would be him holding on too tight because he’s terrified of losing that family,” Gayden said.
Instead, it made more sense to introduce villains who were themselves related to Atlas’ daughters.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods comes at a time of change for DC. James Gunn and Shazam! producer Peter Safran was brought in last year to lead the studio’s film, TV and animation efforts, and Shazam! – like Henry Cavill’s Superman – was left on their upcoming slate. The future of the franchise is up in the air, though the softbox is coming Anger of the Gods harms the chance of a sequel.
But if the co-writers were to continue the franchise, Gayden would like to see Doctor Sivana and Mister Mind finally have their moment in the sun. “If we have Shazam! 3it will be nice if we can bring them back,” Gayden said.
The writer added: “But also, if we had Shazam! 3 and we’re going a different route with villains, I’ve always wanted the post-credits Sivana and Mister Mind to stay. I thought it was the taste of Shazam!, the fact that it’s rather low-key pokes fun at the tropes of movies. If the post-credits scene is always making jokes about post-credits scenes, I think that could be a lot of fun.